Their new slogan replaced one of the longest standing and best recognized slogans ever created, namely “We try harder”, which had been developed by Doyle Dane and Bernbach (DDB) in 1963.
Although it is ‘just’ a tagline, “We try harder” also served as a guiding mantra for their thousands of employees around the world. It’s hard to imagine three words that could more powerfully communicate what they should be doing while they represent their company.
Others take similar approaches, Ritz-Carlton reminding employees that they are “… ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” These words sum up well what the Ritz-Carlton is all about, but they hardly work as a customer facing voice like the Avis line does.
When asked why Avis moved away from its long-time slogan, Chief Marketing Officer Jeannine Haas told Advertising Age, "Consumer-centric brands must always evolve in order to keep pace with ever-changing customer needs and preferences." She added, "Avis is evolving as a premium brand to better meet those needs." Sounds like corporate bla-bla to me, particularly when noting how she continued, saying that the new tagline is "reflective of Avis' ongoing mission to be a customer-led, service-driven company, presenting the brand in terms of the customer experience and the advantages inherent in renting from Avis,"
As they say; whatever! But “It’s your space” sounds to me just too much like it belongs to a storage company and perhaps that’s why in the Summer of 2015, it is no longer to be found anywhere on their website at least I could not find it.
No lesser advertising Guru than David Ogilvy praised Avis’ original ads as a feat of “diabolical positioning” as they competed against Hertz who were openly “Number 1”. Times have changed and Hertz is No. 2 these days with Avis lagging in third place, but even so, the original line still works. Perhaps the corporate bosses at Avis were simply tired of it after so many years. They should still be proud of it. It is true that Enterprise, the reigning number 1 car rental company has profited from having many downtown locations which gave them a less cyclical business. And so the Hertz/Avis rivalry counts now as a historical relic from the 20th century, but it was good while it lasted.
Today, at least on the website, the slogan seems to be making a comeback:
“At Avis, "We Try Harder" has been more than a slogan. It's a promise to every customer. A promise that we will do whatever we can to make the trip more enjoyable. Don't believe us? Here's what our customers say”; and this is followed by testimonials.
In the end, if we bring things back to simple customer communications, perhaps Avis is right in bringing their logo more in line with their core colour – although to me, it's beginning to look Levi-like. If you’re currently thinking of choosing a new colour, maybe there’s something to be learned from the car rental companies. At my local “Gare du Midi” car rental location in Brussels, these are the competitors and these are their colours!
Red: Avis… the colour of fire and blood, associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love.
Orange: Sixt… combining the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation.
Yellow: Hertz… the colour of sunshine, associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy. Its warming effect arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity, and generates muscle energy. Often associated with food, bright yellow is an attention getter, which is the reason taxicabs are painted this colour representing encouragement and stimulation.
Green: Europcar… the colour of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility with strong emotional associations to safety. Dark green is also commonly associated with money. Green has great healing power, suggests stability and endurance and is the most restful colour for the human eye; it can improve vision..It's whose space?"
Blue: Budget… as the colour of the sky and sea, blue is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven. Blue is also considered beneficial to the mind and body, slowing human metabolism and producing a calming effect.
Sadly, Enterprise are nowhere to be found at this location though their green logo would put them rather at odds with Europcar who you can probably just make out in front of the orange Sixt logo to the right of the photo. Are there certain colour coded agreements in place?